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Hey guys, I know this sounds strange but is it okay to offer physicians small payments to shadow them? The reason I am asking is that I am having a hard time finding someone to shadow. I have been dropping letters off but most do not respond or say that they are busy. Thanks.
 

Crayola227

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Hey guys, I know this sounds strange but is it okay to offer physicians small payments to shadow them? The reason I am asking is that I am having a hard time finding someone to shadow. I have been dropping letters off but most do not respond or say that they are busy. Thanks.
Um, so what are you going to be able to pay to incentivize someone who likely makes 6 figures that wasn't interested in mentoring you to want to mentor you after? And don't try the trick political interns do either.

That said, I'm a doc, you can pay to shadow me. :sneaky:
 

Promethean

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Yeah, no.

How are you trying to get people to shadow? Are you cold calling physician's offices? Try writing short, personal note, explaining that you are a student interested in (physician's specialty) and that you'd be so grateful for the chance to shadow, include your phone number, email, etc. Enclose it in a simple, tasteful greeting card/notecard. Something that will stand out from other, machine generated mail. Hand address and apply an attractive stamp. Send one to every physician you'd like to shadow. If you don't hear from them in a week, then try calling. "Hi, I am following up on the request that I sent to Dr. So and So by mail last week. Would s/he be able to call me back at her/his convenience?

A little old fashioned good manners and professional communication skills will go a lot longer toward getting their attention and desire to help you than anything you could afford to offer to pay.

Also... Do you know anyone who knows a doctor? Could you get a volunteer gig or a part time job that would put you in a place where you could meet some docs?
 

Doctor-S

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Hey guys, I know this sounds strange but is it okay to offer physicians small payments to shadow them? The reason I am asking is that I am having a hard time finding someone to shadow. I have been dropping letters off but most do not respond or say that they are busy. Thanks.
No.

Call the physician's office .... call multiple physicians. Explain your goals: you're a pre-med student ... you would like an opportunity to shadow the physician ... and/or contact teaching hospitals ... or, if you're already volunteering at a medical center, approach the physicians there ... and always be professional, polite, positive and persistent.
 

Catalystik

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Hey guys, I know this sounds strange but is it okay to offer physicians small payments to shadow them? The reason I am asking is that I am having a hard time finding someone to shadow. I have been dropping letters off but most do not respond or say that they are busy. Thanks.
A "small payment" won't inspire a doc to be helpful to a premed if they aren't already so inclined. Don't embarrass yourself by offering.
 

Mad Jack

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Um, so what are you going to be able to pay to incentivize someone who likely makes 6 figures that wasn't interested in mentoring you to want to mentor you after? And don't try the trick political interns do either.

That said, I'm a doc, you can pay to shadow me. :sneaky:
If they really wanted to bribe a doc to shadow, they could go the pharma route and bring Panera lol. A six dollar sandwich goes father in getting attention than fifty or a hundred bucks ever would- I blame it on years of poverty training medical students and residents to have some kind of Pavlovian response to free food.
 

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Ask a variety of doctor's office in a polite manner, but please oh please don't offer a "small payment". If anything that will have the opposite effect, as you may give the physician the notion that they can be "bought''.
 

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Just keep trying. Money doesn't work, it's more of a matter of they don't know you so it's hard to ask a patient to let some rando come into the room when they're with the doctor. It's hard enough to get patients to be willing to talk to medical students.

The way I did it was through my college's premed office. I went to a decent sized college so we have a lot of alums and even then it was tough to find people but I found a few.
 
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Try this site: http://cf.osteopathic.org/iLearn/home.cfm I found several docs in my area willing to let me shadow. Docs sign up there to be local mentors for students.

Edit: Although for some reason the login button isn't present on the site now as far as I can tell though it was less than a month ago. Not sure what that's about but if you are able to log on there at some point it was a very effective way of finding doctors to shadow.
 
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This reminds me of a program someone was talking about last year. A hospital system created a program where you pay like... $200 flat rate, and you can shadow as many doctors you want during a 6 month period or so. The fee apparently went to take care of the administrative costs of running the program. The physicians weren't directly compensated, however.
 

philosonista

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Yeah, no.

How are you trying to get people to shadow? Are you cold calling physician's offices? Try writing short, personal note, explaining that you are a student interested in (physician's specialty) and that you'd be so grateful for the chance to shadow, include your phone number, email, etc. Enclose it in a simple, tasteful greeting card/notecard. Something that will stand out from other, machine generated mail. Hand address and apply an attractive stamp. Send one to every physician you'd like to shadow. If you don't hear from them in a week, then try calling. "Hi, I am following up on the request that I sent to Dr. So and So by mail last week. Would s/he be able to call me back at her/his convenience?

A little old fashioned good manners and professional communication skills will go a lot longer toward getting their attention and desire to help you than anything you could afford to offer to pay.

Also... Do you know anyone who knows a doctor? Could you get a volunteer gig or a part time job that would put you in a place where you could meet some docs?
Have you found that IRL mail hasn't gotten lost -- people have actually responded!?!?
 

Promethean

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Have you found that IRL mail hasn't gotten lost -- people have actually responded!?!?
If it looks like a form letter, it is most likely going to get ignored. I can't tell you how much unsolicited mail my girlfriend gets, and she hasn't worked as a physician for years.

If you send what is obviously a piece of personal mail, it is going to get opened, most likely by the physician themselves rather than by a staff member. I buy attractive note cards by the boxes of 8-24 whenever I find them on sale. Thank you cards and just blank ones. I go to a local book store chain (Half Price Books) and get them for $1-4 a box. That way I always have a selection ready to send for any occasion. They aren't really much more expensive than printing on nice paper and using a standard envelope, but they stand out from other mail, and people are always delighted to receive a card, so they don't get lost or ignored.

I even use them to send my rent checks to my landlord. I don't know that this little gesture is the reason that our relationship be so cordial, but it does seem to me that when I have had to call with a problem, I get a warm response and immediate service.

Of course there is always the risk of mail getting lost, but it happens a lot less frequently than people claim (when they are trying to pretend they haven't heard from you.) That is why you call to follow up after a few days, if you haven't heard from them.
 
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IlDestriero

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It would probably take a lot more than you have to inspire them to want to accept you if they're not interested in having someone shadow them.


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Il Destriero
 

toutou

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Google the hospitals around your area, especially ones affiliated with med school / residency program if possible. Usually those hospital have shadowing program available believe it or not through their volunteering office. I cold call a bunch of offices.
 
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Lucca

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This reminds me of a program someone was talking about last year. A hospital system created a program where you pay like... $200 flat rate, and you can shadow as many doctors you want during a 6 month period or so. The fee apparently went to take care of the administrative costs of running the program. The physicians weren't directly compensated, however.
LOL a beaurocratic program that exists for no reason other than to pay for itself

Classic medicine
 

Psai

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This reminds me of a program someone was talking about last year. A hospital system created a program where you pay like... $200 flat rate, and you can shadow as many doctors you want during a 6 month period or so. The fee apparently went to take care of the administrative costs of running the program. The physicians weren't directly compensated, however.
Rofl. $200 seriously? And the doctors don't even get paid? What does the money even pay for besides a useless job?

We have more than enough useless administrators thanks, don't need more making a living off the backs of hard working doctors.
 
OP
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Thanks for the responses, everyone. Looks like that is a bad idea and I won't do it then. I will try contacting more places to see if they will accept shadowing.
 

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I've always thought shadowing is a good idea with terrible execution. Literally the only reason for a doctor to let you shadow him is out of the goodness of his own heart. There's no real incentive - only disincentives. Letting someone shadow you means more work on top of an already busy schedule. I suspect that's why I've heard of doctors rejecting prospective students due to "HIPAA" violations when we all know that's a bunch of BS.
 

aldol16

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OP, I'm more interested in how much you were willing to pay the doctor(s). This could become an entrepreneurial idea - a matchmaking service for pre-meds and doctors (I'd only charge a 10% commission). :p
 

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OP, I'm more interested in how much you were willing to pay the doctor(s). This could become an entrepreneurial idea - a matchmaking service for pre-meds and doctors (I'd only charge a 10% commission). :p
Honestly, I could see it happening. Now that I think about it, I'm kind of surprised it hasn't happened already.
 
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aldol16

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I've always thought shadowing is a good idea with terrible execution. Literally the only reason for a doctor to let you shadow him is out of the goodness of his own heart. There's no real incentive - only disincentives. Letting someone shadow you means more work on top of an already busy schedule. I suspect that's why I've heard of doctors rejecting prospective students due to "HIPAA" violations when we all know that's a bunch of BS.
Well, I think there is something to be said about the kind of people who we want to be doctors. Med schools always want people who want to help others - that's kind of a given. To me, a key part of being a responsible citizen is that once you become successful, to look back on your own background and recognize all the help you had to get where you are in life - all the teachers who devoted their time to make you an educated citizen, your peers who contributed to your growth, and even doctors who let you shadow them once upon a time so that you could see if that career is for you. And then to give back - to do your role to help the next one in line. So I think these failings actually reflect on the whole medical school admissions game and its shortcomings.
 

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Well, I think there is something to be said about the kind of people who we want to be doctors. Med schools always want people who want to help others - that's kind of a given. To me, a key part of being a responsible citizen is that once you become successful, to look back on your own background and recognize all the help you had to get where you are in life - all the teachers who devoted their time to make you an educated citizen, your peers who contributed to your growth, and even doctors who let you shadow them once upon a time so that you could see if that career is for you. And then to give back - to do your role to help the next one in line. So I think these failings actually reflect on the whole medical school admissions game and its shortcomings.
I agree 100% that physicians need to give back and in the future as a physician I'll definitely be willing to let people shadow me.

I also feel that medical schools shouldn't be the ones on the hook for producing immoral physicians. In my opinion, a person's character is most malleable when they're younger. Thus, if any institution is to be held responsible then in my opinion it should be the responsibility of K-12 educators to give kids moral guidance. Of course, I personally feel that parents should and do have the biggest role in shaping the character of their kids.
 
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aldol16

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I also feel that medical schools shouldn't be the ones on the hook for producing immoral physicians. In my opinion, a person's character is most malleable when they're younger. Thus, if any institution is to be held responsible then in my opinion it should be the responsibility of K-12 educators to give kids moral guidance. Of course, I personally feel that parents should and do have the biggest role in shaping the character of their kids.
Well, I don't think they should be on the hook for producing immoral physicians but rather not using effective metrics to choose persons of moral and pure character. These are difficult things to measure, to be sure, and I think that the current shift to competency-based and holistic admissions will help. However, I always believed that the old system was too much based on numbers (US News methodology doesn't really help disincentivize that) and less on character. It's a huge task to revamp K-12 education (just ask anybody with Common Core experience) and I think we can fix most of the problem by being more selective about who is admitted.
 

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Well, I think there is something to be said about the kind of people who we want to be doctors. Med schools always want people who want to help others - that's kind of a given. To me, a key part of being a responsible citizen is that once you become successful, to look back on your own background and recognize all the help you had to get where you are in life - all the teachers who devoted their time to make you an educated citizen, your peers who contributed to your growth, and even doctors who let you shadow them once upon a time so that you could see if that career is for you. And then to give back - to do your role to help the next one in line. So I think these failings actually reflect on the whole medical school admissions game and its shortcomings.
Here's the problem though - those who like to teach and "give back" gravitate toward academics. But in academics you are already spending a ton of your time working with residents and med students so you already are giving back to people further back on the path a ton. So the question is, can you generate the same interest in private practice, where people have already chosen a path that's less about teaching?
 

aldol16

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Here's the problem though - those who like to teach and "give back" gravitate toward academics. But in academics you are already spending a ton of your time working with residents and med students so you already are giving back to people further back on the path a ton. So the question is, can you generate the same interest in private practice, where people have already chosen a path that's less about teaching?
Very good point. I think that may be a lost cause - perhaps those in private practice are already disillusioned with the academic side of medicine and want to devote their careers to helping patients and not students. But I think there still is room for improvement at academic medical centers for academic physicians. I doubt every academic physician accepts shadowers now - many are caught up in research as you say and that leaves little time for other things although letting someone shadow you shouldn't take that much time (especially once the bureaucratic process is overhauled to make it all easier).
 
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thatwouldbeanarchy

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Thanks for the responses, everyone. Looks like that is a bad idea and I won't do it then. I will try contacting more places to see if they will accept shadowing.
Cold calling doctors that you don't know is difficult and low yield. Keep at it, if this is your only option. But I would try to brainstorm literally ANY doctor that you might know or be connected to in some way (your own doctor, parents' friends, friends' parents, doctors in your student health clinic, etc.). Often docs are more likely to say yes to someone they know even vaguely. Also, if you're still in school, see if your premed advisor has suggestions.
 

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Always wondered how my primary care doc drove out of the complex the other day in a Ferrari.